Recently, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) said it expects the U.S. economy to enjoy the fastest economic growth in a decade in 2015. With predictions that the (GDP) will expand by 3.1 percent, job creation will increase and there will be an upswing in consumer spending, business owners would be wise to plan accordingly.
As we begin a new year, this is the ideal time to press pause, celebrate your achievements, and prepare for a strong business 2015.
Here’s an easy checklist to help your business enter this year on solid ground:
1. Take a look at your team and make adjustments as needed.
Success comes down to people. You need to have the best people in the right positions equipped with the necessary resources to excel in business. Get your arms around who is on your team and how they are performing. Assess strengths while also addressing weaknesses.
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If you’re preparing for growth, where do you need additional talent? Who do you need to promote or manage out? Where is your team stressed? What skills are lacking and what training might benefit employees?
People are your greatest asset. Build a team empowered to deliver greatness.
2. Evaluate and enhance your infrastructure.Whether you run a technology company or a brick-and-mortar business, your infrastructure sets the stage for everything you do. Review your infrastructure from your phones and cloud solutions to your software and physical space needs.
Are there areas you’re overspending or places you need improvement? Are you storing your data management safely? Is your technology reliable? Scalable? Are you running out of space and need to lease more? Be proactive when it comes to securing a solid infrastructure.
3. Refresh your social-media accounts and strategy.While social media is increasingly important for business, it’s also easy to let it slip through the cracks. Revisit your social-media strategy and accounts. Are you taking full advantage of what’s available and what makes the most sense for your business? For instance, are you on Facebook but missing out on Twitter? Consider and leverage all of your options.
As importantly, are you using these applications effectively? Be sure your pages are up-to-date in terms of brand, bios and other assets. Delete posts that are no longer relevant. Also, make sure people within the company are sending unified messages that align with your brand.
4. Poll your key advisors.
Connect with your key advisors, including recruiting, legal, accounting and marketing partners. Share your growth plans and projections for next year, so they are positioned to support your goals.
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Do you project tripling your revenue? Do you intend to double the size of your team and lay off the underperformers? Give your accountants a chance to address how this will affect your tax year. Launching a new product? Give your marketers a heads up to start thinking creatively.
Get ahead of the game, so you and your allies can work together to lay the groundwork for success.
5. Funding your growth takes planningWeigh your company’s spending and needs. Where are you planning to spend more and where can you decrease spending? Negotiate with sources you spend a lot with to secure best pricing or look at new sources to increase competition.
Planning alongside your finance and accounting team will help ensure you’re not caught off guard when you need to fund a major ad campaign or grow your team.
6. Ensure a meeting of the minds.
Getting everyone aligned with your company’s mission, brand and goals isn’t always easy, but it is crucial -- especially for your executive team. This time of year can be hectic but making time to get together can transform chaos into focus in the coming year.
While making your list and checking it twice, if you add a little business planning to the mix, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. Set some tactics in motion, envision your future and then begin 2015 with a strong start and reap the success of what you sow.